Editor’s Note: With over two decades in the high-tech industry, Jeff Brown is our go-to expert for technology investments. Today, he shows why Nikola Tesla’s most ambitious idea could soon become a reality.
He stood a striking 6 feet 2 inches tall, quite unusual for his time.
Known for possessing a photographic memory and being capable of memorizing entire books, Nikola Tesla is remembered for transformational inventions such as the induction motor, electrical power distribution, fluorescent lights, wireless communications, and remote control of mechanical devices.
But of all of Tesla’s inventions, there was one that never saw the light of day. It was a revolutionary idea that had the potential to reshape our world in profound ways.
It was also an idea that was more than a century ahead of its time. But now, Tesla’s unfinished masterpiece is on the verge of becoming a reality.
Let me explain…
Tesla Meets J.P. Morgan
In March 1901, Tesla received a $150,000 investment (approximately $4.1 million in today’s dollars) from one J. Pierpont Morgan (yes, that J.P. Morgan) in exchange for 51% of any wireless patents that might be produced from experiments at a place called Wardenclyffe.
Wardenclyffe was a facility about 10 miles away from Port Jefferson, NY, which is on Long Island. Tesla intended to use the facility to develop the technology to transmit wireless communications across the ocean to Europe.
This was exactly what J.P. Morgan invested in. Morgan wanted the technology so he could charge customers for wireless communications. With the funds from J.P. Morgan, Tesla constructed a quite unusual-looking tower for the time.
Its purpose was supposed to be for “World Telegraphy”… in other words, wireless communications. But Tesla had a different goal. Perhaps it was one even more grand than wireless communications.
Unbeknownst to J.P. Morgan, Tesla wanted to use the tower to demonstrate wireless power distribution… on a very large scale.
Tesla’s vision incorporated many of his towers emitting energy throughout the atmosphere. This energy would be utilized by airplanes, automobiles, and even ships designed with special receiving devices to collect the wireless power.
On a large scale, this technology would have allowed ships to travel the seas without ever stopping to refuel. Planes could stay airborne indefinitely, constantly supplied with power from Tesla’s towers.
When J.P. Morgan discovered Tesla’s ulterior motive, the funding stopped. Eventually this led to the Wardenclyffe facility shutting down. The property was sold off to cover some of Tesla’s debts, and sadly, the historical Tesla Tower was torn down as well.
Tesla’s Work Is Becoming a Reality
But what many thought to be the ideas of a mad scientist 100 years ago, have become a reality today… As you already know, Tesla’s original idea of wireless communications has been with us for years. The mobile phone in your pocket is proof.
And while we may not be transmitting energy across the Atlantic Ocean, Tesla’s vision of wireless power distribution is happening now at a much closer range.
Behind the complex technology of wireless power distribution is something quite simple: the ability to charge your electronic devices without the need of a power cable for each device.
Imagine being able to come home after being out all day and setting your smartphone, your Bluetooth headset, your iPad/tablet, and your health tracker down on your desk next to your computer.
That’s it. Nothing to plug in, no cables to worry about, just set the devices down and they charge “magically.”
This possibility is not as far off as you think…
You see, on September 12, tech giant Apple is expected to release the newest version of their popular iPhone. And when Apple releases the iPhone 8, it almost certainly will include wireless charging as a feature.
But Apple is just the tip of the iceberg.
Following a Tech Giant
Since Apple released its very first iPhone in 2007, it’s been a trendsetter for other smartphone makers. Whatever new features Apple adds, others follow.
So when Apple releases wireless charging as a feature on the iPhone 8, the rest of the industry will copy it…
And the rest of the mobile phone market is much larger than Apple’s shipment volumes.
Samsung alone shipped 309 million smartphones in 2016… And Chinese company Huawei shipped 139 million.
In 2016, Apple’s rivals shipped 1.27 billion smartphones. That’s a massive market.
And wireless charging won’t be confined just to your mobile phone…
Wireless power distribution may start with cell phones… but after that, the technology will reach mass adoption.
Any consumer product that contains electronics will be a target for this technology. Wireless earphones, iPads, health tracking devices, even “smart clothes” will all be able to charge up wirelessly.
This technology could even be used to continuously heat your morning cup of coffee so that it never gets cold.
Reprinted with permission from Bonner & Partners.